Websites are the New Storefronts

Alaine Anderson, Digital Strategist and Implementer at Joining Vision and Action

100% of the jobs I’ve had involved at least some interaction with an organization’s website. As a young person—a millennial, as you’d have me—websites are an integral part of my life. Every step of the normal sales process has become digital in one way or another, to the point that I won’t even take an organization seriously if their web presence isn’t intuitive enough for my relatively high digital standards.

Today’s digital standards

Yes, my standards might be higher than most. Not only was I raised in the digital age, I’ve also set my career path down a technological road. Some would say that I’m in the minority when it comes to the expectations I have for websites. However, I challenge that assumption. With the amount of companies whose sole focus is retraining individuals to become web developers, it is clear that the standards for one’s digital presence are rising across the board.

Why is having an intuitive, well-designed website important?

Your website needs to speak for you. People are starting to ignore most marketing and sales techniques. They are hyper aware of being ”sold to” and are likely to reject any message that is openly selling something. Not that your goods and services aren’t worth buying, but I personally hold a general distaste for companies that don’t leave me alone to make my own purchasing decisions.

With marketing, there is a need to observe the psychology of the buyer, get in their heads and figure out what is the appropriate means of contact. So, when all other avenues of communication fail to grab a potential customer’s attention, you are left with your website.

Don’t fret—this is the best opportunity for your organization! Your website allows customers constant access to information about your mission and your achievements.

Your website and you

When it comes to your website content, it needs to provide tangible value. Depending on what you are selling—in the nonprofit world, this even means donations—the message needs to be clear about what the buyer is getting out of making the purchase.

If your organization isn’t a social enterprise, providing goods in exchange for impact, then you are selling change to your customers. In a sea of ‘research before buying’ attitudes, prospective supporters are going to first gather information before making a donation. People want to connect to your storytelling and positive impact through your website. So now is the time to make sure your website is effective at capturing the attention of donors.

Telling your story

Nonprofits should focus on their most affecting stories. This moves people into contributing to the cause, and allows donors to feel like they are a part of something bigger and more important than themselves. I’m sure all of the nonprofits reading this have excellent stories to share and the money they receive is going to the best causes and values out there. The trick is sharing this information in a way that is both visually appealing and provides the best connection to human emotions.

Not only does the message need to be clear and meaningful, the process of making the donation needs to be intuitive. If something along the way confuses or prevents someone from moving forward, they are going to give up. No matter how good the cause, people are easily frustrated with clunky systems and tend to turn to something easier.

Is your website up to snuff?

If you are reading this and thinking, “my website needs a lot of work” or “I don’t even have a website,” then check out our latest training opportunity called Get Your Geek On. Participants will come out of this training with a fully functioning, donation-ready website—or a greatly improved, SEO-friendly setup. Sign up today!

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